Friends for Years & Then…
by Erin and Nate
I met Nate in the 8th grade when my family moved to Crocker, Missouri. We were instant friends who joked with each other in the back row of Math class. A couple of months into the year Nate asked me to ‘go’ with him but being the girl that I am I said no. I never understood exactly where we would be going at 13 but I was sure it’d probably get me in trouble and I wasn’t one to risk getting in trouble.
Our class schedules were rarely the same during high school but we still remained friends and walked together at graduation. After school I went to college in St. Louis and Nate stayed in Crocker working at the local grocery store. I moved back home two years after graduation and began what I like to call the slacker years. It was during this time that Nate and I started hanging out again. We’d stay up all night driving around back roads talking about music, books and all those things that seem to weigh on the minds of twenty-year-olds. I told all of my girlfriends that Nate would be my “Mr. Perfect“, if only I was attracted to him. I made a secret pact in my head that if I didn’t find another man I could talk to so openly by the time I reached 40 I’d marry Nate.
Well, for one reason or another, I think it had something to do with his actual girlfriend getting jealous of our friendship, Nate and I drifted apart. We’d still stop and say hi and exchange pleasantries when we ran into each other but that was the extent of it. Years went by, Nate graduated from college and went into the Air Force; I had a son, finished my degree and lived the life of a single parent.
The summer of 2003 was our ten year reunion and as fate would have it the same week of the reunion Nate would come home from Florida to spend a final moment with his mother before her passing. While it obviously was not a ‘fun’ trip home for Nate he did take the time to come to the reunion and also came by my house for a visit. My son, Teagan, and our dog, Superdog, immediately took to Nate and we sat around talking just as if no time had passed at all. The entire time Nate and I had been friends there was always something missing that kept us from dating and being a couple but time seemed to have made the difference. Before he went back to Florida Nate had let me know that he was planning on getting out of the service and moving back home. I gave him my number and told him to give me a call sometime….
Well two months went by and I heard nothing from Nate. Knowing his quiet nature I decided I’d probably never hear from him unless I took matters into my own hands, so I got his address from a mutual friend and wrote him a letter. Shocked and scared are the two words Nate used to describe his reaction to the letter. We wrote back and forth for a couple of months before Nate moved back home. Once I knew he was in town I drove by his house and there he was unpacking. I went ahead and stopped and on a whim asked him if he wanted to go out to dinner with Chastity, a friend of ours, and her husband. When he said yes I had to quickly excuse myself to let Chastity know that she and Mason would be going out to eat with us Friday night. We had dinner, came back to my place and watched movies. Even after Chastity and Mason left Nate and I stayed up all night watching movies and talked.
For the next year we dated and in the fall of 2004 we decided to move into together. After just a few months of dating I knew that I didn’t want to wait until I was 40 to marry Nate and we started talking about plans to get married. Where we would go, would it have a theme, etc. etc. We did a lot of talking but never committed to anything until one month after moving in together when I got pregnant. The next month we eloped and we’ve been happily married ever since.
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